The Mirror

THE MIRROR

Over a hill, under a dream,
is a beehive you once passed
reflected in a lily pond.

You were a child,
about six,
and they sky ahead of you

protected you from the shadows
of your life to come.

The bees played, and you played,
and the honeysuckle-breeze
kissed your smooth face,

and you didn’t know such a thing
as happiness
because you were happiness itself.

Then an errant bee stung you,
at about eight,
and the sky rained tears,
and the honey tasted like wax.

You grew, and the shadows grew,
and the lily pond dried in your mind,

Then you worked your hive,
your life’s work,
following

the programs and the commands,
the lines and the rules,
the fears and the hesitations.

What did you become?
What was it?
Were you the bear or the bee?

And now, you’re near the end of it all,
sifting through the confusion
of the millions of life-reflected bits

of the mirror inside you – the one
that separated you from you,
the one whose image

you fell into love,
the one that set you off on
your long trip from the hill

and the lily pond
and the beehive
and the honeysuckle breeze.

Over the dream
is that stinger –
the bottom of
the lily pond fed on
it all these years.

Go there:

the stinger
was a bell
of waking,
a mugger’s knife
telling you

to let it all go,
to keep letting it all go,
to keep giving it away
like breaths and heartbeats,
telling you:

that you are not the bee
that you are not the bear

that you are
the happiness
reflected in the pond.

You always were.
The stinger just threw you,

and you startled yourself out of paradise.

It’s not too late:

the lily
and the bee
are dying for your return.

And the honeysuckle-breeze
longs to kiss
the shadowy creases

around your human eyes.

– Phil Baumann, a father to his son.